P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney
"I remembered it!!!"
G'day from Down Under! I am writing to tell you that Australia is all that I hoped it would be and more. In the three days I've spent in this country, I've learned a few valuable lessons about this land that I felt that I needed to share with you before I convince you to inevitably make the same trip one day:
1. You are more likely to die in a car crash than by a poisonous spider. Even if you know going into your trip that everyone drives on the left, it will still confuse you. Let's just thank God that I'm using cabs and not trying to drive a rental.
2. No one says "G'day, mate!", but you better believe that you'll hear "No worries" at least 10 million times a day.
3. Everyone here dresses like they just stepped off the cover of Vogue. Booties and long coats are a must. The guys all wear suits.
4. If you're planning on living here, you better be fit. Everyone is so skinny. I attribute it to all the smoking, surfing, and walking that they do.
5. Fish and chips are served at every store. Take it from a seafood hater, you're gonna have to eat it at some point.
6. The accent never gets less cool.
7. There are chocolate bars everywhere--no, not like a Hersheys bar, but actual stores that sell only chocolate products. I'm talking straight up Willy Wonka style. Gelato shops are also on every corner.
8. You are highly unlikely to find a restaurant that will actually split the bill. Prepare to Venmo and constantly owe money to your friends.
9. Australians love the Kardashians... and asking you about Trump. Gotta love reality TV.
10. All of the birds here look like they should belong in a zoo. I mean there are wild cockatoos everywhere.
11. If you love a good pun, then this country has all the right koala-fications for you. They're everywhere.
12. Construction workers are generally young, fit, very good looking, and found everywhere. It's quite confusing.
13. You never know who you'll run into. Celebs could be anywhere! We saw Danny McBride on Bondi Beach.
14. Do your research before you go out.
15. Pack a toothbrush in your carry-on. NEVER trust Virgin Airlines with your luggage.
16. Avoid putting your phone in your back pocket. It may just fall into the Sydney Harbor.
17. Wifi and warm jackets should never be taken for granted.
18. Be careful on escalators. Those suckers might just knock you out and make you get on an ambulance, not a plane.
19. If you're in Newtown, don't wear hiking boots. You'll be told to head back to the North Shore.
20. Savor every second.
If you were confused by any of the above tips, let me break them down for you.
On Monday, May 23, I hopped on a Virgin Airlines plane with five fellow Longhorns and headed for San Francisco.
After 3 hours and 45 minutes, we arrived in San Fran, where I had a burger and fries for a "steal" of $18 and was met with the news that our checked luggage had not been assigned to our names. We spent an hour talking to both Virgin Airlines and Air New Zealand, our connecting flight, to guarantee that our luggage would make it on the plane. They assured us that it would. We then spent 14 hours and 37 minutes on a flight to Sydney. It passed by fairly quickly because all I did was sleep and watch three movies: "How to Be Single," "Crazy, Stupid Love" and "Zoolander."
Once we arrived, we were met with the infuriating news that our luggage was actually still in San Francisco. Even though they told us that they checked and that it was on the plane already. Ugh. After that our luggage-less selves hailed a cab and headed for Billabong Gardens Hostel where we spent the next two nights. It was great except for the terrible wifi that we had to pay extra for and the judgmental check-in guy who got mad when we asked if the tap water was safe to drink.
Us: "We just wanted to double check and make sure that the water is safe to drink."
Him: "What do you expect? Of course it is. We ARE a developed country, you know? Where are you guys from?"
Us: "We're from the U.S."
Him: "Oh, Americans. That explains it."
We spent our first day exploring the touristy parts of Sydney. We toured the University of Sydney, and we all wish that we could transfer there. We walked miles trying to figure out where we were, and eventually we realized how starving we were. I had a delicious "chicken parmy" for my first Australian meal at the Watershed, a restaurant right on the Darling Harbor.
We then took a well-deserved nap and tried to learn how to navigate the bus system so that we could head to the world famous Sydney Opera House. This has been my favorite part of the trip. Photos just don't do it justice. The Sydney skyline and its beautiful lights are unforgettable. I may never come home.
We had dinner at a cafe right next to the Opera House where we soaked up the views. I even had my first legal drink! What better place.
We started our second day in Sydney off with some AMAZING donuts from Doughnut Time. It was incredible. I had a salted caramel donut called "Veruca Salt" along with some delicious flat white coffee from Max Brenner Chocolates for breakfast.
I brought a second chocolate glazed donut with cookie dough on it with me to the stunning Bondi Beach where I stood in the white sand eating my donut and wondering how the surfers were not freezing to death (it's winter here).
The views were unreal. I felt as if I was staring at a postcard.
We had lunch at the Surf Fish where I, much to my own surprise, had some calamari that I actually found delicious. I normally hate seafood.
As we were eating, we noticed that Danny McBride was standing right next to us taking pictures with some waiters. It took us awhile to confirm that it was actually him so we missed our picture taking opportunity. We tried chasing after him, but couldn't find him.
We then decided to hop back on the train and head to see the Botanical Gardens, but we were attacked by seagulls. There were police nearby who just laughed their heads off at us and did nothing to help. We found even more crazy birds at the gardens. There was an entire field of cockatoos.
We learned that one of our friends dropped her phone into the Sydney Harbor when she was visiting the gardens.
After the gardens, we did some overpriced souveiner shopping and then ate at Thai Pothong, "Sydney's Best Thai Restaurant." I will never forget its inappropriately named drinks and its unsurpassed wifi. We had to pay a huge bill on one card because they generally won't let us split bills here. :(
On our way back to the hostel, a random lady told us that we looked like slobs and should go back to the North Shore where we belong. We thought she was asking for directions, but then we quickly realized that she was trying to insult our airport clothes. Too bad we didn't understand any of her references.
Once we got home, we got ready to go out for the night. We heard about a cool little club called "The Scary Canary" that we wanted to try out. Let me tell you.... it lived up to its name. The bar had a $20 cover charge and once we regretfully paid that we learned that it was punk night. Let's just say they only played the most obscure emo songs from middle school, and I was one of the only ones without pink hair or an ungodly amount of piercings on my face. We quickly left, and after many attempts, found that most of the pubs in Sydney stop letting people in by around midnight because bar fights have been a big problem lately. We stopped by "The World Bar" and found about 20 people in total there, all with the weirdest, can't look-can't look away dance moves. It's safe to say that we left there quickly too. Home sweet hostel.
We spent our final day in Sydney shopping around Newtown. We had breakfast at Newtown Brewtown where I had a delicious eggs benedict with prosciutto, ate some refreshing mango gelato at Gelatissimo, and had some to die for pesto potato gnocchi at The Italian Bowl.
We then spent forever trying to hail a cab and headed back to the airport where we found the world's longest check-in line. We had a ten minute heart attack that our flight was canceled, but then found out it was only delayed by 40 minutes. The flight from Sydney to Brisbane felt incredibly short because I sat next to an Australian who answered all of my questions about the weird slang terms they use and why everything seems to be backward in this country.
No worries, there are more adventures in Brisbane to come....